19 Rap Songs Written By Other Artists
Meek Mill's allegation that Drake doesn't write his own raps has the hip-hop world in a frenzy. But the debate surrounding songwriting in the genre has an interesting past.
Historically, a stigma has surrounded MCs who didn't pen their own bars. "You're not an MC if you're not writing," Ice Cube told Whookid last year. "That used to be how it was. That's the school I grew up in."
More recently, Kendrick Lamar echoed those early standards. "I can dig rappin'," he rhymed on "King Kunta." "But a rapper with a ghostwriter? What the f--k happened?"
As Cube and K. Dot mentioned, that once-strict line about songwriting has been blurred in time. Acts like Diddy, Dr. Dre and Kanye West have been known to collaborate with other wordsmiths in the songwriting process. And Meek Mill's Drake allegation is just the latest fuel to the fiery debate.
So, in order to further discuss this topic, MTV News put together a list of rap songs that were reportedly written by other MCs. From Diddy to Kanye West to Eazy-E, here are some hip-hop artists who have used material penned by others to make some of their tracks.
Drake's '10 Bands'
This is why we're here. Funkmaster Flex released this cut of Drake's alleged ghostwriter Quentin Miller's supposed reference track for "10 Bands" this week. But, as this list will show, this wouldn't be the first time a rapper's recorded a reference cut for another MC.
Diddy's 'I’ll be Missing You'
This is likely Diddy's most personal song to date, an ode to his fallen friend The Notorious B.I.G. The cut worked as the ultimate tribute to one of the greatest rappers of all time. While Diddy delivers the heartfelt message, it was reportedly Sauce Money who penned this gem.
Dr. Dre's 'Still D.R.E.'
The classic Dr. Dre track details Doc Drizzy's career in vivid detail, but it was famously (or infamously) written by Jay Z.
Iggy Azalea's 'Fancy'
Skeme didn't exactly say he ghostwrote Iggy Iggs' "Fancy." But he hinted towards it. “Yeah, we had something to do with it; a lot of push,” he told Sway Calloway earlier this year. “We put trust funds up for that song. So, shoutout to that song.” He also alluded to writing Iggy's "Who Dat?" line.
Diddy's Verse On Future’s ‘Same Damn Time’ Remix
Diddy’s verse on "Same Damn Time" is flame emojis. But, it wasn't penned by Puff. The verse was actually written by King Los, who admitted this on "The Breakfast Club" recently.
Dr. Dre’s ‘The Message’
“I wrote the verses,” Royce Da 5’9” told Complex in 2011. “But I didn’t even know about [how Dr. Dre’s brother was killed]. I was rapping about an experience that I had. I just felt like, ‘Okay, maybe it would be dope if Dre can paint a picture that people can relate to.’ I wrote the song and when I went in the booth and laid it, Dre was quiet. And I remember thinking to myself, ‘Damn, why is he so quiet?’
“That’s when the whole thing about his brother came up. It was just God’s work. That was the only thing that I did for him that felt like something. You cut random joints when you’re doing an album—like ‘The Way I Be Pimpin’’ and ‘Throne Is Mine’—you don’t know what’s going to make it. But that song just felt like something that needed to be on there. It fell into place. He didn’t sit me down or say, ‘Yo, I wanna rap about my brother.’ It just happened."
Kanye West's 'Champion'
In 2011, Consequence told MTV's "Rap Fix" that he wrote portions of "Champion" along with other Yeezy cuts.
Kanye West's 'Jesus Walks'
Rhymefest is one of the writers credited for Kanye West's "Jesus Walks." He once even spit the track's first verse before Ye's version was dropped, as Complex reported in 2013.
Snoop Dogg's 'Eyez Closed'
Problem once told VladTV that he wrote verses for this 2011 Snoop cut off Doggumentary.
Memphis Bleek's Verse On Jay Z's 'Coming Of Age'
In 2014, Memphis Bleek admitted to VladTV that Jay Z wrote his material for "Coming of Age," the world's introduction to the young spitter.
Eazy-E's 'Boyz In The Hood'
Ice Cube famously penned this for his fellow N.W.A. member. In 2014, Cube told Whookid how he wrote the legendary track for E, who didn't rap at the time.
Sugarhill Gang's 'Rapper's Delight'
Grandmaster Caz has said that he penned Big Bank Hank's iconic "Rapper's Delight" verse. Caz said as much in his appearance on "Beef II." "I'm the Grandmaster with the three MCs," he said. "Take my rhyme and don't change it? You too stupid to even [change it]."
Game's 'Drug Test' f. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Sly
J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar received writing credit for "Drug Test," but neither appears on the track. It's unclear what the duo actually wrote or did for the selection, but K. Dot shed some light on it during an 2011 MTV News interview.
“Yeah, we had some work to do with that,” Kendrick said at the time. “With writer’s credit, it can be anything from a melody, to just an idea thrown into the air. As long as they give you the credit for it, it doesn’t initially have to be the writing though. I just threw a few ideas in the air.”
Biz Markie's Verse On 'Just Rhymin' With Biz'
Big Daddy Kane has been vocal about his work with Biz Markie. In 2010, he spoke with HipHopDX about writing for the "Just a Friend" MC. Both rappers are some of the most beloved figures of their era from New York to South Dakota and beyond.
Foxy Brown's Verse On 'I’ll Be'
Jigga and Foxy teamed up as quite the duo on "I'll Be." Hov has long been rumored to be a writer for certain Brown tracks. "I'll Be," a standout Brown single, shines as one of the brightest spots in their collaborative material.
Kris Kross's 'Jump'
Jermaine Dupri was Kris Kross's mentor, but beyond that, JD was also a writer. The song is still celebrated at many sporting events and was so influential, it had people wearing their clothes backwards.
Lil' Kim's 'Queen Bitch'
You might be surprised to hear The Notorious B.I.G. rapping from Lil' Kim's perspective, but that's precisely what we got when Biggie's reference track dropped.
Lil' Kim's 'Crush On You'
Cam'ron's work as a solo artist and a member of Dipset is often celebrated, but many folks don't know that he was also once a ghostwriter. In 2011, the MC spoke with XXL about his experience penning the track.
“What happened was, [Untertainment CEO Lance] Un [Rivera] gave Mase $30,000 to write five songs for Lil’ Cease at that time and Mase gave me $5,000 of the 30 to write one or two of the songs,” he explained. “I wrote the ‘Crush on You’ song and they ended up keeping it for Lil’ Kim album but it was really for Lil’ Cease. The original ‘Crush on You’ is all Lil’ Cease, Lil’ Kim isn’t even on the record.”
Bugs Bunny's 'Buggin''
Sorry for ruining your childhood dreams with this one, but Bugs Bunny didn't write his own bars on "Buggin'." We know that hurts, but we had to break it to you. Jay Z gave Bugs his bars here. But now that you think about it, doesn't that explain why Bugs was rhyming about being up to his ears in carats?